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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:The African 'population problem': situational versus world historical perspectives
Author:Baregu, Mwesiga
Notes:biblio. refs.
Geographic term:Africa
Subjects:population growth
economic development
Economic and social development
Demographic pressures
External link:http://archive.lib.msu.edu/DMC/African%20Journals/pdfs/Utafiti/vol9no2/aejp009002003.pdf
Abstract:In its 'World development report' (1984) and in 'Towards sustained development in sub-Saharan Africa' (1984), the World Bank expressed general disquiet about rates of growth of the Third World's population. The Bank also noted that of all long-term constraints on development, population growth is the single biggest long-term threat to Africa's economic development. The major assumptions of the World Bank's argument are essentially neo-Malthusian. The first problem with the neo-Malthusian view of population growth is its basic assumption that higher population growth rates retard economic development. Conversely, its implicit presumption that lower population growth rates will result in higher rates of economic development is equally flawed. This paper argues that high population growth rates could stimulate economic development. The second assumption is a syllogic fallacy. Low rates of population growth are not necessarily associated with high rates of economic growth. In fact, low rates of population growth could lead to low rates of economic growth. This is the case with Africa. The World Bank ignores some of the basic historical demographic data, namely the fact that Africa's population growth has lagged behind that of other continents over the last five centuries and that its share of the world's population has dropped drastically. Bibliogr., notes.